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The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land Paperback – 19 Jan 2012
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About the Author
Thomas Asbridge is a Reader in Medieval History at Queen Mary University in London, and an internationally renowned expert on the history of the Crusades. He has written and presented a major BBC TV series on the Crusades and a documentary on William Marshal. His acclaimed titles The First Crusade and The Crusades are also available from Simon & Schuster.
'A dramatic and powerful look at both sides of the story' --Sunday Times
'Enthralling' --Literary Review
'Exhilarating' --Sunday Telegraph
'A taut, clear and exciting narrative, which also manages to convey the best of modern Crusader scholarship' --Diarmaid MacCulloch, Guardian
'Stunning' --Financial Times
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Top customer reviews
Gives the reader the full history of the crusades and the differing views of the participants and yet remains a great read that I found myself gripped by.
Cannot recommend highly enough. a thoroughly enjoyable and informative book
Would recommend highly.
The Crusades began as a kind of idealistic call to arms. When you look at it, the entire enterprise looks insanely impossible: a bunch of aristocrats, knights and their support infantries decide to travel to nearly the end of the world, to dislodge the far more numerous Muslims from Christian holy sites (Jerusalem, etc.) Against all odds, the first Crusade essentially lives up to its ideals, conquering a huge swath of territories and establishing independent kingdoms and Duchies in the mid east (largely in the territories of modern Syria and Israel). It is simply amazing that, virtually without supply support and lacking coherent leadership, they charged into battle with little plans and won. Many said it was God's will.
In a way it was colonial, but the author is at pains to prove that it was their ideals that drove them. He demonstrates the changes in theology required, including "just war" by Christians, but also promises of salvation from sin to varying degrees and under more or less clarified obligations. The twists of logic and the hypocrisy of land-hungry princes, I was convinced, were outweighed by their religious purpose. After all, what they wanted to do was far too ambitious, though to be fair they lacked clear and practical knowledge about the areas they were attacking; besides, God and the talisman of the "true cross" supported them.Read more ›
I don't propose saying anything more about the excellence of this book - the other 29 reviewers (so far) have said it all - absolutely excellent book about the Crusades!
What I would like to draw out is the fact that this book falls very neatly (and nicely!) between such relatively short introductory texts such as 'The Cross and the Crescent' by Malcolm Billings(*), and 'The Crusades' by Anthony Bridge(*) and more academic studies such as 'A History of the Crusades' by Steven Runcieman. It's a perfect general, but detailed introduction to the Crusades with a nice balance between academic rigour and entertaining anecdote. Wonderful!
(*) Both of these books are excellent in their own right.
Most recent customer reviews
The TV series was informative and started to give me some understanding of that period of history. I purchased the book which I have just got round to read, It is a riveting... Read morePublished 7 months ago by MR A
Well written, comparing sources to attain objectivity, highly readable. An enjoyable and informative read.Published 11 months ago by Morgane
Whilst this is a well written book, linguistically speaking, it is highly opinionated and would have been better called 'Thomas Asbridge's version of The Crusades'. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very enjoyable and well written. Definitely as good as The greatest knight. His other book about William Marshall.Published 15 months ago by Michael Abba
For over a thousand years inter-religious strife has been focused on the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Plucked Highbrow
Bought a copy as a present, ended up buying another to give away. Very good writing.Published 16 months ago by Joan R.